I stopped listening to music in the gym a while back.
You know why?
I realised that I was letting the music dictate the flow of my workouts when I should've been listening to my body.
There is nothing quite like a crushing Meshuggah track to get me in the frame of mind for heavy squats and deadlifts.
But there's a price to pay:
- You shift your focus from internal performance, like paying attention to how an exercise feels, to external performance, like hitting a PR every time or impressing other people in the gym.
- Ramping up your nervous system with aggressive music, stimulants, and channeling your inner aggression every time leads to diminishing returns and eventually burnout.
- When you're waiting for your favourite verse or riff to drop, you stop letting your own biofeedback dictate the pace of your workout.
That last point is particularly interesting, because it's an example of a more general phenomenon.
Most people look for external cues to start something like:
- Joining the gym in January.
- Starting the diet on Monday.
- Waiting for work stress to subside before starting a side business.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with starting your diet on a Monday, you need time to plan it out over the weekend and buy groceries for the week.
But the point is that you can always do something right now.
That doesn't mean you need a fully formed plan, or you even have all the resources you need to get started - it's about identifying the resolve to do something and engaging in the process instead of putting it off.
It's about recognising that when you tell yourself that conditions will be more favourable at some point in the future, you're almost always fooling yourself.
Waiting for the buildup to your favourite track before you do your set is a microcosm of waiting for life to give you smooth sailing before you make the changes you know you need to make.
If we've learned anything from this year, it's that life will always find a way to disrupt your plans.
Plans are fragile - the more complex and the further out into the future they go, the more fragile they get.
You're better off investing your time into developing the right mindset and acquiring skills that enable you to adapt and thrive.
That's something you can start doing right now.